Empire achieves 100pc growth
Dubai, March 21, 2009
Empire Aviation, a Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZ) based air charter company, has announced its growth to 11 aircraft from two aircraft in December 2007.
“The aircraft were from all major manufacturers, nine of which are available for commercial charter and two of which are managed on behalf of private owners,” explained Steve Hartley, Empire Aviation Group’s (EAG) executive director.
“The 100 per cent year on year growth of our company reflects the potential offered by the business air charter industry in this part of the world,” he said.
He added that EAG’s aircraft sales division is witnessing an extremely positive start to the year, having just completed a deal on behalf of a private buyer for a pre-owned Gulfstream G550 business jet which EAG acquired from a corporation in the US.
“We have based our growth on a sound and seamless business model led by aircraft asset management, aircraft sales and charter operations,” he continued. “We continue to develop new opportunities, increase product awareness and deliver high standards of service for our valued clients and business partners.”
Speaking of the market potential of the business aviation sector in the Gulf, Hartley said: “The market has always been buoyant in this region and will continue to do so. There are more operators coming online and it will certainly get more competitive.”
He expressed optimism that if the company continues to provide suitable options and delivering excellent service, “we will be in good shape for the future.”
Of the company’s clientele, he said corporate and business accounts comprise 70 per cent of the business while 30 per cent is characterised as VIP leisure customers both regional and international.
“We successfully work with an extensive network of worldwide brokers and our regional RSA (representative sales agent) partners,” Hartley said.
“We have seen a reduction in jet chartering from the start of the New Year, which seems to be an expected reaction due to the worldwide financial climate,” he added.
He added that from an initial three people when the company was founded, the Empire’s staff strength has grown to 60 since commencing operations in June 2007.
“The location of our head office in DAFZ is ideal. We are within close proximity of the airport VIP terminal to service our customers and nearby to our appointed maintenance facility which is also located in the DAFZ free zone,” said Mr. Hartley.
Oil-rich GCC countries are instrumental to the continued expansion of the Middle East business aviation market, which is the fastest growing in the world, said one of the industry's leading players.
According to the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), the massive growth rates of 15 to 20 per cent per annum were predicted for the regional business jets market and that its overall worth should top $1 billion by 2012.
Mohammed Suwailem, director sales, DAFZ, said: 'I am happy to hear of the positive developments in the business jet charter business and that Empire Aviation is doing well. We carefully screen companies that apply to open their office at DAFZ and look at their potential.”
'The fact that DAFZ is located close to the airport and the recently opened VIP airport terminal makes the Free Zone especially suited for this kind of operation and business model,” Suwailem added.
He noted that many major positive announcements have come out of the air charter show which was held recently, and the fact many companies are pursuing international tie-ups implies that they have noted this increasing demand and are responding to it in a confident manner.
“The location of the Free Zone within the boundaries of the Dubai Airport is a key benefit that has attracted the large number of companies to the DAFZ,” said Suwailem.
“DAFZ plays a key role in providing a platform and easy acces